Spooky World

Welcome to Media and Cultural Studies!


The Department of Media and Cultural Studies provides students with a critical, interdisciplinary analytic skill set that is simultaneously local and transnational, pertinent to social justice and political movements, encompassing the theoretical and the practical.

Who We Are

Media and Cultural Studies brings together a group of faculty and students from a range of fields and specialties who are engaged in the critical analysis and making of media and culture.

As public intellectuals, practicing critics, and cultural interlocutors, poets and artists, filmmakers and musicians, sociologists, and policy experts, we infuse theory with practice, the creative with the evaluative.

What We Do

We study how political economy and dominant as well as emergent ideologies condition the historical and contemporary production and distribution, circulation and contestation, reception and appropriation of media and cultural texts.

We analyze how ideology, power, and identity intersect and articulate through media and culture.

We interrogate the relationships between the conditions of production (policy, ownership, institutions, regulation); the formations of social movements and practices of expressive cultures; and the production of meaning through different media texts and technologies.

Our graduates are scholars, social activists, media and policymakers, critics, independent media makers, and participants in creative and media industries, who can move flexibly between the applied and critical, the professional and scholarly, the empirical and theoretical, and the social-scientific.

How We Do It

Our approach encompasses political economy and media policy, critical race, ethnic and gender studies, ethnography, and historical, material, visual and textual analysis; methods are drawn from the humanities, fine arts, and social sciences, analyzing the relationship between media ownership, production, circulation, and reception, employing a problem-based approach to the analysis and media and culture; to critically analyze the relations between institutions, ideology, and identity, synthesizing critical analysis and cultural production, blending theory with practice.

Our department examines the culture and media of the last century; commercial norms and governmental policy as well as alternative strategies; and the newest forms of media technology and innovation. We analyze old and new technologies, including visual, aural, audiovisual, and computer-generated texts. Our work traverses the local to the global, global north and global south, tracking influences and borrowings from Hollywood to Bollywood, from anime to videogames, to understand the processes of globalization, transculturation, displacement and diaspora, cultural hybridity and imperial domination.

We research and teach about feminism, indigenous and decolonization movements, citizenship and democracy, dissent and alternative media, the formation of new subcultures and expressive identities. We study audiences and cultural practices, old and new forms of media, from print-journalism to video-games, blogging, and other forms of digital media. Teaching interests include: historical, existing, and speculative media policies and ecologies, political economy, video, and gaming culture, photography and documentary and experimental filmmaking, music and sound design, global communication and social change, transnational cinema and media indigenous and community media activism, performance cultures, graphic narratology, and environmentalism and sustainability.

MCS in the News

Congratulations to Kathy Chacón (MCS BA '20), who has been awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship and will be matriculating in the Film and Screen Studies MPhil program at Cambridge University in Fall 2024.

Congratulations to Judith Rodenbeck, named 2020-21 Honors Program Professor of the Year! (6/11/21)

Congratulations to Dylan Rodríguez, 2020 Freedom Scholar! Dylan is one of 12 scholars receiving this prestigious award, in its inaugural year, from the Marguerite Casey Foundation and Group Health Foundation, in recognition of their profound work in, commitment to, and support of social and economic justice in "scholarship that is rooted in and supports movements led by Black and Indigenous peope, migrants, queer and poor people, and People of Color." (9/15/20)

Congratulations to Gloria Chan-Sook Kim, who has been awarded a prestigious year-long fellowship by the University of California Humanities Research Institute. (5/11/20)

Congratulations to Sherryl Vint, who has been awarded a year-long fellowship at UCR's Center for Ideas and Society

We are very proud of MCS graduate, Christopher Watkins III, who talks about his new film, Hats, here.